Category Archives: Tips for Writers

The Louvre Displays Ancient Treasures of the Thracian Empire- Who are the Thracians?

“The Saga of the Thracian Kings,” an exhibition now on view at the Louvre in Paris.

Who are the Thracians and where is the Thracian Empire?

We knew little about the Thracians when we started to work on “Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey.” When people mention Thrace, the only heroes who readily come to mind are Hercules, Orpheus, and Spartacus – if even those. But Thrace has a vast history beyond its mythology or the conflict with Rome. We enthusiastically rolled up our sleeves and researched their culture, religion, and customs.thrace1Our efforts were reward with a delightful review: “I love that there is a little bit of historical elements in this book, namely the stuff set in ancient Thrace. A history buff myself, it isn’t often I get the chance to read things about Thrace that don’t involve Spartacus. Major props to the writer for creating this wonderful tale.”

Quite often now when we mention the book, people ask, “Where is Thrace?” or “Who were the Thracians? Is that a country?”

So, let’s start with the easy question: “Where is Thrace?” The Thracians lived in southeastern Europe along the Black Sea, in the region that is now modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.

 

 

 

“Who were the Thracians” poses a more difficult question. What we can tell you is that they have been around for a long time. Since the people themselves did not have a written language, everything that is known about them comes from other sources. The first historical reference to them was in Homer’s “Iliad,” where it was mentioned that they were allies to the Trojans. But evidence of them as a distinct people exists as far back as 1500 BC.

They were a warlike tribal nation, living in mountains and valleys. But they were also great artisans, finely crafting delicate golden objects and painting beautiful murals.

 1024px-Sofia_-_Panagyurishte_Thracian_Gold_Treasure

A polytheistic people, they worshiped the Sun and Moon, both. Bendis, called the Great Goddess, was one of their primary dieties. Better known, however, is Dionysus, the god of wine, whom the Greeks incorporated into their religion. It is through the story of Orpheus (you remember him; he went to Hades to retrieve his wife Eurydice) that the tale of this drunken god is probably best known. The story did not end well for Orpheus. The Maenads, followers of Dionysus, tore his apart. Yup, gruesome.

 Even today, Bulgaria is known for its wine. Many myths and legends mention Thracian wine. Homer says the most popular wine, one with the best aroma and body, came from the Thracian city of Maroneia. Odysseus also used Thracian wine to put the Cyclops Polyphemus to sleep before he struck the beast in the eye with his spear.

When Christianity crept into the region, the Dionysian cult faded away. But even today the feast of Saint Trifon is celebrated, and the festivities trace back to the cult of Dionysus (for example, pouring wine and electing a king). But, that could be the topic of another entire blog.

April 2015 to July 2015: Bulgaria To Exhibit Thracian Treasures In Paris’ Louvre – The exhibition “Antique Thrace – The Odrysian Kingdom” will feature the Panagyurishte golden treasure and 325 exhibits – mostly golden and silver items from various treasures. – The items in the exhibition were evaluated by insurers at EUR 165 M

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ancient-thracian-culture-reveals-splendor-at-louvre.aspx?pageID=238&nid=81471

“Mystical Emona” was highlighted on October 9 at Boston University during an event called “Bulgarian Voices: Love, Light and Rituals.” It is also available on Amazon US and UK. In addition, we are working on a non-fiction book that will describe many of these Bulgarian customs and others in more detail, as well as their Thracian origins. Look for it in December.

Book available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Emona-Souls-Journey-Volume/dp/1500616974

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MysticalEmona

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBQ7FJtb9vY

Pinterest—Rebecca: http://www.pinterest.com/tacrafts/

Pinterest—Anelia: http://www.pinterest.com/aneliasamovila/

Twitter: @RebeccaCarter_E and @AneliaSamovila

Spotlight Blog Tour – April Adams

Please welcome the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author for March 2015, April Adams. April is the Author of “Shattered”.

Emotion, the Seventh Sense

Good profile picTaste, touch, sight, sound, smell, intuition, and emotion. Every single scene should have a good mixture of these things. Smell is often overlooked in writing, but emotion is sometimes nonexistent! On the other hand, too much emotion ruins a scene.

 

In my first draft of Shattered, there was a scene where Glenn was furious. I had originally written this scene as follows:

 

“No!” Glenn shouted, tossing the scroll into the fire. I lunged forward a little bit, my hand outstretched to snatch it back, but it was aflame in seconds. “No I tell you!” His long fingers grabbed the fabric around Gable’s neck and pulled hard, bringing them nose to nose.

Gable laughed like fingernails on a chalkboard. “Oh? You would bring about the destruction of the entire world?” he stared back at his brother, completely nonchalant.

“I will not surrender her to your care. Not for every life in this realm.” Glenn growled.

“Wait, what?” I asked, realizing what he had said. “What did that paper say?”

Gable reached up, pried Glenn’s furious hands from his clothing, smoothed his shirt and turned to me. “It said that under the authority of Ambius the wise you are hereby ordered to accompany me to him at once, there to discover what you must do.” He answered.

“No!” Glenn roared again, turning from him to me, his look changing from venom to kindness. “I will not let you go with him.” He whispered forcefully, taking both my hands in his and falling to his knees in front of me. His blue eyes held no hint of tears, only determination. I searched his face and found nothing but what he wanted me to see. He thought Gable a danger to me, and he would not leave me to his care.

“Glenn Elambil.” Gable said, rising to his feet with a drunken wobble and sucking in wetly through his lips. “For disobedience to the Watcher of the Eastern Lands I hereby place you under arrest.”

“No!” I said to him, defiance rising into my throat.

Glenn squeezed my hands and winked at me. “Yes.” He said, affecting defeated tones. “I have burned the words of the Watcher, and must be brought before him.” He explained to me, resigned. Then he smiled, and my heart skipped a beat. “Which means, I believe, brother,” he turned and directed this last to Gable, “that I’ll be coming with you.”

 

But that’s a little too much emotion. So, I tweaked it to this:

adams

“No,” Glenn said in a voice like steel, tossing the scroll into the fire. I lunged forward slightly, my hand outstretched to snatch it back, but it was aflame in seconds. His long fingers grabbed the fabric around Gable’s neck and pulled hard, bringing them nose to nose. I was shocked by this sudden escalation and pressed myself into the back of my chair.

Gable laughed like fingernails on a chalkboard. “Oh? You would bring about the destruction of the entire world?” He stared back at his brother, completely nonchalant.

“I will not surrender her to your care,” Glenn said, matter-of-fact.

“Wait, what?” I asked. “What did that paper say?”

Gable reached up, pried Glenn’s hands from his clothing, smoothed his shirt and turned to me. “It said that under the authority of Ambius the Wise you are hereby ordered to accompany me to him at once, there to discover what you must do,” he answered.

“No,” Glenn said again, turning from him to me, his look changing from cold steel to kindness. His eyes were honest. He thought Gable a danger to me, and he would not leave me to his care. I felt a cold chill tingle down my spine. Gable didn’t strike me as a good man, but I hadn’t thought him dangerous.

“Glenn Elambil,” Gable said, rising to his feet with a drunken wobble and sucking in wetly through his lips, “for disobedience to the Watcher of the Eastern Lands I hereby place you under arrest.”

“No!” I said to him, defiance rising in my throat, standing in objection.

Glenn winked at me. “Yes.” He stood with rounded shoulders, affecting defeated tones. “I have burned the words of the Watcher, and must be brought before him,” he explained, resigned. Then he smiled, and my heart skipped a beat. “Which means, I believe, that you’ll have to take me with you.”

 

You can see the difference for yourself. Don’t be afraid to write emotion, hust don’t make it too “drama club” like I did in that first draft. Yeesh. First drafts are the worst!

 

 

Find me online!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/April-Adams/e/B00CHRCD8G

Twitter: @apriladamsnovel
Facebook:   www.fb.com/apriladamsnovel
Website: www.writerapriladams.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/apriladamsnovel

Making Your Book a Bestseller

Authors have to (MUST) spend as much time marketing their books as writing them.

Use the time between submission of your manuscript and the actual publication of the book to market the book and build a community of potential readers.

bulgarian_voices1Beyond including hard data in the book, include personal stories to connect with your readers.

Traditional bookstore appearances and signings can be expensive and don’t work as well as getting sponsors to buy your book in bulk in return for a free speech.

Good luck and don’t be discouraged! Persistence, collaboration, passion and hard work!

Ronesa Aveela

Cultural Diversity

Today, we’d like to explore more about one reason why we wrote “Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey.” It’s more than a tale about eternal love. As mentioned in the introductory blog, it’s also a story about the modern Bulgarian people and their culture.

This isn’t a discussion about religion. It’s about the activities people perform that are unique to their culture. Granted, the activities may take place during religious holidays, but they don’t necessarily have a religious significance, although often they do.

Why is understanding culture important? One reason is it defines who people are. The common experiences that people share influences their perception of the world and consequently how they behave with each other and those outside their community. bulgarian_voices1People who believe in evil spirits may be more cautious around others. In “Mystical Emona,” Maria is constantly giving Stefan charms to ward off the evil she believes intends to harm him. As an outsider, Stefan reacts differently to her actions than those who have lived with her in the village.

Is either of them right or wrong? No. Different cultures shaped their view of what evil spirits are, or if they even exist. Will living in a place that is vastly different from your own change your perception? Quite possibly, yes.

Then the question arises: Should people who move to another country forget about their heritage and immerse themselves in their new culture? Or should they retain the purity of their traditions, ignoring all else? Or perhaps a bit of both – creating new traditions from each culture?

There is no set answer. Everyone is different, so what works for one person or family may not be appropriate for another. Some beliefs may be so strongly ingrained into people’s personalities that no amount of time can erase them. While other beliefs may pass by the wayside, with people openly embracing new beliefs, or incorporating them into what they believe and creating new traditions.

Consider these thoughts about what culture does.

  • Provide comfort and security: Customs, traditions, and beliefs give people hope for a better life for themselves and their children.
  • Pass on cultural and religious heritage: Traditions are a great way to teach children about the family’s cultural and religious history, giving them personal identity.
  • Connect generations: Spending time with older generations is a great way to build memories and enables people to learn about beliefs, traditions, and heritage.

We’ll leave you with a quote from “Mystical Emona” where Peter is telling Stefan about Sultana, a znahar, a woman who heals with herbs. Many people considered her a witch. “When people don’t understand things, they call them bad. Miracles still happen, but you need to believe deep in your heart before you can experience them.” So, culture is about believing.

“Mystical Emona” was highlighted on October 9 at Boston University during an event called “Bulgarian Voices: Love, Light and Rituals.” It is also available on Amazon US and UK. In addition, we are working on a non-fiction book that will describe many of these Bulgarian customs and others in more detail, as well as their Thracian origins. Look for it in December.

Book available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Emona-Souls-Journey-Volume/dp/1500616974

Website: http://mysticalemona.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MysticalEmona

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBQ7FJtb9vY

Spotlight Blog Tour – John Fioravanti

Please welcome the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author for October 2014, John Fioravanti.

John is the Author of A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching and Passion & Struggle.

Hello, I’m John Fioravanti, and welcome to the eighth post of my “Spotlight Blog Tour” sponsored by my family at Rave Reviews Book Club. I’m very grateful to be a guest today with Ronessa Aveela.

 

In December of 2013, my wife, Anne, and I launched Fiora Books as a book publishing house in alliance with Iceberg Publishing  also of Waterloo, Ontario. Previously, I had written a non-fiction book for high school students called “Getting It Right in History Class” (Data Based Directions, 2002). Five years later, I wrote the award-winning non-fiction book, “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” (Iceberg Publishing, 2007). This month we published my first science-fiction book “Passion & Struggle”. People have asked me why I switched genres. Good question…

 

FICTION Vs NON-FICTION

 

When I think back on it, there wasn’t a moment when I decided I wanted to write a book for publication. There was no sudden realization, “Hey, I want to be an author!” I just stumbled into it by trying to create skill guidelines for my students. For years, I duplicated the booklets I had written so my students could use them when I assigned writing projects in history class – including the formal research essay. One day, a colleague suggested I get them published. I thought about that, wrote letters to every major educational publisher I knew about – but no one was interested. Years after that, a former principal told me to contact a small educational publisher operating out of Barrie, Ontario – Data Based Directions. So I made the contact and the rest is history.

Four years later, out of the blue, my former student and dear friend, Kenneth Tam  visited me at the school. He and his parents had formed their own publishing house, Iceberg Publishing, in 2002. At that time, Kenneth launched his first Equations novel  and I served as Master of Ceremonies at the launch event. Four years later, Kenneth had four Equations novels under his belt, and he came to see me with a proposal. That visit culminated in the publication of “A personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” in 2007. Again, I had not decided to write a book about my teaching career on my own. By the end of 2007, I had two published non-fiction books under my belt, and I had not made a conscious decision to become a published author.

However, that changed during the editing process of the Journey book. It was during the summer of 2006 that I had the fateful conversation with Kenneth about writing my own science-fiction series inside his Equations series. For the first time in my life, I made a conscious decision, not only to write a book – but an entire series!

Hey! Hold on for one darned minute here! What made me think I could write a novel? All my life, I’ve been an avid reader – mostly novels of all genres. In all that time, I never lost my admiration, no, awe, for the men and women who spin these yarns that keep me turning pages for hours. I often thought, how do they come up with these stories? How do they dream up these fascinating characters? It is such a gift! I often wished that I had that gift.

As I sat down at my computer to write the first lines of a novel I hadn’t named, I experienced a moment of near-panic. How do I do this? I must be certifiable! I needed to calm down… so I cleared out of my office and went for a short walk. I convinced myself that I was being silly, calmed down, and went back to my computer. I had been thinking about this for a couple of months before this particular day. I sat in front of a blank Word page and something remarkable began to happen.

Before I knew it, I had written a page and a half of the story. Where did that come from? My friend, Kenneth Tam, has a theory that our subconscious mind will work on problems that are bothering us and find solutions. When we are calm or relaxed enough, our conscious mind can connect with the subconscious and the ideas begin to flow. I’m convinced that this is the case. As the weeks and months went by, the story unfolded in ways I had never planned. You see, I’m a very unorthodox writer.

Best practice dictates that a writer will map out the story – plots, subplots, characters, etc. Then one writes the story. I have tried to do that and failed miserably. I sit in front of a sheet of paper and do more doodling than planning. Nothing pops into my head! However, if I sit at my computer and relax, I begin to picture scenes and then characters. The ideas begin to flow and I begin to write. I can’t explain the magic of a keyboard. Conversely, I can’t create with pen and paper. The best I can do with that medium is a grocery list!

Does the story written in this way turn out to be first and last draft? Nope! Not even close. I began to write Passion & Struggle in January, 2007. The present manuscript was not ready for editing until this past spring. Just over seven years! Lots of rewrites and transformations over the years. However, in that time I also drafted Book Two in the series – Treachery & Triumph. I don’t suggest that other authors should use my approach; but it does work for me.

Two weeks ago, my wife, Anne, came into my office while I was at the computer and stood there waiting for me to finish what I was doing. When she had my attention, she said she just wanted to tell me something. I thought I was in trouble… again! I was wrong. She told me that I was a very talented man because of the way I wrote P&S_CoverPassion & Struggle – which she had just finished proof-reading. She said she admired how I wove the various plots together and developed the characters. She thought I should know that, and then she left. I sat there, dumbfounded. Wow. I always thought those same things about the writers of the novels I’d read over the past five decades.

Fiction or Non-Fiction? I’m liking the fiction a lot more. I truly have fun writing these stories. I can twist the plots any way I like, create whatever characters I like, and do anything I want with them! But sometimes my characters react to a situation in a different way – not what I expected. I sit back, look at the computer screen, and say, “Hey! Who’s writin this dadgum story, anyway?? And then I laugh out loud!

So, check out my Passion & Struggle, and see what you think.

 

AUTHOR BIO

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008. His teaching career was split between two schools: St. Benedict CSS in Cambridge, Ontario and St. David CSS in Waterloo, Ontario.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History Classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class (Data Based Directions, 2002), along with an international version of the same title. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching  Iceberg Publishing, 2007, 2008, 2010) (Fiora Books 2014) is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle and is set within Kenneth Tam s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life!

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-one years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books. After four decades of marriage, they decided to become business partners as well.

 

BOOK LINKS:

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O7X5SXK

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/passion-struggle

iBooks: https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wo/16.0.0.13.7.2.7.9.1.1.3.2.3.3.1.5.3.0.1

Book Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUqwuCcAEyU

CONNECT HERE:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/FioraBooks/516763875088924?ref=hl

Website: http://fiorabooks.com/

Twitter: @FioraBooks  + @jfinwat  (I have 2 accounts)

Write, Research, Edit, Rewrite, Edit. Then what? MARKETING?

Write, Research, Edit, Rewrite, Edit. Then what? MARKETING?
May 18, 2014

bookmarks

As soon as I started thinking about what goes into publishing a book, I discovered I had a lot of homework to do.

On top of time spent at your day job, you have to write, edit and rewrite your novel. When you think it’s ready for the world to read, you then have to MARKET it. Well, you should consider marketing it even BEFORE you finish writing.

I think about marketing in terms of Six Sigma. For those of you who may not be familiar with this term, in general it’s a simple, practical way to solve problems. I recently finished a training course on this process. The first rule of Six Sigma is to define your problem. Then you gather information, perform analyses, and finally propose a solution.

So, how does this relate to marketing? Simple. You have a problem, and you want to come up with a solution. Start with a statement defining your problem.

Problem Statement: I have an idea for a book. I’ve written it, or I’m in the process of writing it, or I’ve even finished writing it. The problem is that I want to publish and sell as many copies of this wonderful book as possible. How do I go about marketing it so people will want to buy it?

A simple formula could be written as follows, with the question marks indicating the missing piece of the solution. The arrows designate that one event follows the other.

Write Book (Input) > ??? > Sell Books (Output) > Sell More Books

The initial input is your book, regardless of its state of completion. The end result or output is to sell the book. How do you fill in the missing information in the middle, to get from writing the book to selling the book? You need to build a BRIDGE.

To build the bridge, you need TOOLS. Now all you have to do is find those tools. The good news is, many of these tools and resources are FREE.

Once I started looking into possible marketing tools, my list grew long in a short time. I was amazed at the marketing possibilities and resources available.

Social Media: Start building social profiles on major networks. Interact with readers and writers alike. Allocate at least one hour a day to be socially active online. Build your visibility and brand. I will write more about building your online brand in a later post.

Your Family: YES, your family. Let them know you’re writing a book. They can help you and support you. Believe me, you’ll need a lot of support … and coffee. J

Your Friends: People are friends because they’re here for us when we need help. Let them know you’re writing a book. Ask them to share ideas with their friends. Ask for comments, feedback, and maybe even a beta-read. If they’re truly your friends, they’ll be there for you.

Online Resources: It’s 2014. An unbelievable amount of content is available online. Search for what other authors, especially successful authors, already do, like book trailers and blogs, Ask them questions, especially those authors writing in the same genre as you do. You’ll be amazed how much further you can go if you just ASK questions. People are willing to help.

I know it sounds like a lot of work on top of writing, researching, editing, and working full time. But think of the possibilities. Use the tools of a good time-management system to automate your online posting. Then, please SHARE how you market your book and how you’ve reached out to your target audience. We all have the same goal: SELL OUR BOOKS.

Yours fellow authors : Rebecca & Anelia